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Victories at home, visions abroad.

The summer has proven a busy and successful time for the Appraisal Institute with numerous legislative and regulatory victories and the continued development of strategic opportunities in various international markets. I'd like to take a little time to outline a few of them and their implications.

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On July 31, President Bush signed into law House Resolution 3221, a bill that contains several expansive housing-related initiatives, including the regulatory overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, modernization of the Federal Housing Administration, and national licensing requirements for mortgage brokers and bank loan officers. The centerpiece of this legislation is an innovative program aimed at keeping families in their homes and relieving lenders from the prospect of major losses taken with foreclosure. Thanks to the efforts of the Appraisal Institute and our partner organizations, H.R. 3221 contains strong appraisal requirements with this innovative program. In addition, the bill raises eligibility requirements to become an FHA-approved appraiser, requiring new FHA appraisers to be state certified or professionally designated by a nationally recognized professional appraisal association like the Appraisal Institute. It also contains strong appraiser independence requirements for the FHA appraisal program.

We applaud Congress and the administration for recognizing the importance of an independent appraisal process and for acting on behalf of the best interests of homeowners and lenders. The Appraisal Institute strongly believes that quality valuations performed by competent and ethical appraisers are an essential part of government-guaranteed loans, and we're delighted that public policymakers took the steps necessary to ensure that our government's lending policies are safeguarded. The Appraisal Institute's full summary of the bill is available at www.appraisal-institute.org/newsadvocacy/govaffairs.aspx.

Regulation Z and the Home Valuation Code of Conduct

We achieved another victory this summer with the Federal Reserve's release of the Final Rule that updates the Truth-in-Lending Act (Regulation Z). The newly revised Regulation Z includes a provision suggested by the Appraisal Institute last year to strictly prohibit creditors, mortgage brokers or their agents from coercing real estate appraisers. The new rules are backed by the strong oversight and enforcement powers of the Federal Reserve.

The final version of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct was expected in mid-August for implementation in 2009, but OFHEO had not yet released it by the time we went to press. Since the comment period on the HVCC ended in April, we have continued to urge the parties to make changes to the HVCC to avoid unintended consequences. Rest assured, our advocacy on your behalf will not end with the release of the HVCC, as there are many corollaries to this issue, including pending changes to RESPA and potential legislation on Capitol Hill.

International Relations

The Appraisal Institute's international vision expands international membership by proactively reaching out to our peers outside of the continental United States through Appraisal Institute education and promotion of our designations. To promote and support our international relations efforts, the Appraisal Institute is strengthening and expanding its relationships with international appraisal organizations.

In November 2009, the Appraisal Institute and FECISVAL will host jointly what we unofficially are referring to as our International Valuation Conference in Cancun, Mexico. In addition to educational offerings and events, the International Valuation Conference also will provide a backdrop for meetings of the board of directors, and the Strategic Planning and International Relations Committees, as well as some of the Appraisal Institute Regions meetings. The meeting will provide the Appraisal Institute and its membership with a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to international cooperation in an affordable manner.

Elsewhere in this issue you will also read about the headway we are forging overseas by making our informal ambassador program more official. Through efforts such as these, as well as continuing to lobby stateside on your behalf, we remain confident that we are keeping the voice of the profession loud and clear, and multi-lingual.

As always, I welcome your advice.

By Appraisal Institute President

R.Wayne Pugh, MAI
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Title Annotation:on point
Author:Pugh, R.Wayne
Publication:Valuation Insights & Perspectives
Date:Jun 22, 2008
Words:659
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